Observing Checklist for Spectroscopy
Unix commands are shown in italics.
Commands in the ucirob program are in red.
Commands in the CCDAuto program are in blue.
Commands in Xephem/SkyView are in green.
- The computer-controled AC power unit should be cycled on/off
up ucirob. That's the red lighted power switch beside the large
on the front of the black box in the rack.
- Log onto ucirob.ps as observer.
- Create your own directory for that night with mkdir, cd
it and make subdirectories named images, flats, darks.
- Start ucirob.ps from your directory.
- Open Obs.
and when completed (see message
screen) make sure the mirror covers are indeed all the way open.
the one facing South does not open all the way. If it is closed then
the ladder and gently open it.
- After the observatory is open, move to a bright star like Vega
varify that the pointing is okay. If it is way off, center it in the
and reset home coordinates.
- Power up the CCDs (CCDs
- Start CCDAuto program (FILE/Start
- Start up the ST8 - Spectrographic CCD (Cameras/Spectrographic
- Set the operating temperature to no less that 30 degrees C below
CCD/Turn on Temp Reg)
and enter the temp in degrees C). Check that the power doesn't exceed
once the operating temp is reached. If it does you must raise the temp.
If the dessicant in the camera has not been baked lately, the CCD
may frost over if the humidity is high and the operating temperature is
low. You'll notice it as a large scale pattern on the CCD image,
to fog on your bathroom mirror. If frost occurs, raise the temp (turn
temp reg) and take images until you find a temp that works. Remember
lower the operating temp is the lower the dark count and noise will be.
- In UCIrob, click on Spectro to direct the light from the telescope
to the spectrograph.
- Start Xephem (FILE/Start
- Open the SkyView window in Xephem (View/SkyView
- The scale button on LHS menu changes coords to RA/DEC in SkyView.
- Toggle Live Report (top button on RHS) to get cursor readout of
- In Xephem 's SkyView bring up the Telescope/Configure panel,
it should read "lx200xed" and "queue". Click on Show
Sky View Marker. Click
Then click on OK
in the status window at appears -- don't forget to do this because it
completes the link between Xephem and ucirob.
- Plot the CCD Field-of-View in Xephem's SkyView by: (1) pulling
-> eyepieces - > ST8 (or whatever CCD it is), click Use then
close the window, and (2) right click
and select Place
- In SkyView, put cursor on an object and right click to get
on it. Right click, and hold down right button to Center
and Zoom on the object. To slew the telescope to it, right
click and hold the right button down and slide to Telescope
- Take a test image (Execute/Expose Singe Frame then Execute)
to verify the ST8 is working.
- Initialize the finder CCD. Under Finder,
click on the Settings
button. Click on Link.
It will initially fail claiming it can't set the video head offset.
on Link again
and it will initialize properly.
Set the operating temperature to no less than 20 degrees C less
the ambient temp and click on Temp Reg.
the desired exposure time (seconds), binning (1x1) and hit Apply.
Click on Expose
to take an image.
- Mark the spectrographic slit on the guider image by clicking on Slit button.
To move the telescope so that a certain
in the guider image is moved to the center of the slit, right
click on the object and tell the telescope to move. To reset the
default center of the slit, click on an object in the guider
which lies at the center of the slit image, left click on the
which enters the Star PSF values of xc, yc, hwhm (although
hwhm is incorrect) then click on Slit Center.
Turn the Slit
off and on to redraw the slit at the new center. Note
that the current default slit center is (151, 26).
- In CCDAuto, take an image of the slit. Click Settings/Guiding/Slit Image.
On the slit image box, click Settings to set exposure time. Click Ok then Expose to take an
- Focus the telescope for the spectrograph. In UCIrob, click Telescope/Change focus.
In pull-down menu, change "name"
to spectrograph and hit Move to Set while LEAVING THE AXES LINKED!!!
Take an image of the slit. Change the focus value for the T axis,
then take another slit image. Continue adjusting the focus until
the star becomes as small as possible. Move
the focus to ~150
above/below the best focus and then back down/up to the best focus (to
mitigate errors due to backlash). You may have to refocus periodically
if the temperature changes greatly or as you move to different
in the sky. Best focus is T = -5845, U = -6070, V = -5905 for the
ST9 CCD for a temperature inside the dome of T = 21 deg C when
recollimation was last done in June, 2005.
- Move star to slit. Right click on the star in the slit
image, then click To Slit. A series of
moves and exposures will be automattically made to center the star on
the slit. If this does not center the star well enough, small
moves can be made through the N, S, E, and W buttons on UCIrob.
Note that the size and orientation of the slit image described below,
as it is different from the finder CCD.
- Field Sizes and Orientations:
To begin guiding on a star in the guider FOV, first take an image
make sure there is one in the field and define the needed exposure
The star should have a maximum flux in the center pixel of a few
ADU. In the ucirob window, enter Guiding/AutoGuiding
Settings to open the Autoguiding Parameters window. Set the
time and the interval between downloading an image and taking the next
image. Use a minimum of 10 sec as the interval. Hit Apply then click On
to take the first image. The
main ucirob window will tell you to left click on the star you want to
then hit Select
in the Current Guide Image
window. Then it will take repeated images of a small subregion of the
surrounding that star. It will automatically send small slew movements
to the telescope to keep you centered on that star. Unclick On in
the Autoguiding Parameters window to stop guiding.
To observe a spectrum, click Execute/Expose single Frame in
CCDAuto. Adjust parameters as needed, then click Apply
to begin exposure.
Remember to turn off the guider before slewing to a new object.
Shutting Down the Observatory
- ST6 FINDER CCD: North is Up, and
to the Left with the origin at top, left-hand cornor of the
that there are two bad pixels that lie at (x,y) = (221, 168) and (239,
108). Do not confuse them with stars.
- ST8 SCIENCE CCD: FOV = 9.3' x 6.2'.
- 40mm EYE PIECE: center of the ST9 FOV is
in radius outward from the center of the eyepiece FOV roughly along the
- Slit image: FOV ~ 2' x 2'. North is Down, and
East is to the Left.
CCD/Turn off temp reg, Close
Link then File/Exit.
- In ucirob, under Finder/Settings
temp reg, and under Power Up turn off the CCDs
- In Xephem 's SkyView bring up the Telescope/Configure
to disconnect link between Xephem and ucirob. If this is not
done, then the next time the telescope is used Xephem will not be able
to send movement commands to the telescope. If this is was not
done the last time the telescope was shut down, the computer will need
to be rebooted (following the directions below).
- Exit Xephem.
- Close Obs.
- Exit ucirob.
- Log off the computer and turn off the monitor, but do not turn
computer. We leave it on so that anyone can log in remotely from any
machine and operate the telescope.
- If something goes wrong, call Profs. Smecker-Hane or Tony Shoup.
leave the telescope/ucirob if you are not sure the shutter is closed
If you run into a problem, you can call Profs. Tammy Smecker-Hane
@ work, 509-7195 @ home).
If you need to reboot ucirob:
If ucirob crashes you may need to reboot the
machine. You can't simply reboot the computer because the computer will
random signals to the rack. If you do, you're likely to get random
of both the shutter, dome and lights! Instead follow this sequence:
- Turn off
the power to the AC controllable outlet box (red button on the middle
box in the rack).
- Reboot the computer.
- Enter ucirob, which will set the state of the electronic input to
Then exit ucirob.
- Turn the rack and AC controllable outlet box back on.
- Restart ucirob. Send the dome to the home position
Home) to make sure its properly initialized.